Egyptian Alabaster Storage Jar

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This alabaster vessel is ancient Egyptian. It would have most likely served as a storage jug and had a functional purpose, rather than a decorative one. There are, however, painted motifs on the body of the jug in light brown, orange, and black. There are significant areas of loss on the body preventing a full analysis of the design, but it is most likely a lotus motif. This painted element could suggest the status of the owner, or the value of its contents.


Conservation History

Initial Condition

Like many of the artifacts in the Diniacopoulos Collection at Queen’s University, this vessel had previously been restored and the 17 pieces reassembled. The adhesive used on this jug proved to be cellulose nitrate, after scientific analysis. This adhesive had failed, and upon accession was in fragmented state. These pieces showed signs of dirt, most likely from the original dig site, suggesting it was only reassembled and no other restoration treatments on the artifact occurred.

Conservation Treatment

Prior to reassembling the fragments of this vessel, the alabaster pieces required cleaning with acetone to remove the old adhesive. Once this was complete, the fragments were then cleaned carefully with erasure crumbs to remove surface dirt, but not damage the decorated areas of the vessel. Due to issues with structural integrity, in filling with Milliput epoxy putty was completed after the pieces were reassembled. The new adhesive used was Epo-Tek Epoxy. The last touch was to in paint the filling, and build a mount for display.


0. Identification: AA1655

1. Institution: Department of Classics; Art Conservation, Queen’s University  (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

2. Identification references :AA1655

3.1. Category: storage object; archaeological artifact

3.2. Designation:  jar

3.3. Name: Egyptian Alabaster Storage Jar

3.4. Details: Diniacopoulos Collection

4.2. Description of Iconography: lotus; flowering

4.3. Iconographic analysis: Figurative motif; unknown significance.

5.1. Material: alabaster; black pigment; light brown pigment, orange pigment

5.2. Technique:  painted; carved ?

6.1. Unit: cm

6.2. Height: h 32.0 cm

6.5. Diameter: di 62.0 cm

6.7. Form: cylindrical body; recurved shoulder; oval neck ?; handle appendages

7.1. Manner of discovery:  acquired by Vincent and Olga Diniacopoulos

7.2. Place of discovery: Mediterranean Basin

8.3. Region, style, workshop:  Egyptian

9.1. Inscription or Mark “Type”:  N/A

9.2. Position: N/A

9.3. Description of transcription: N/A

10.2. Epoch: ancient Egyptian dynastic period

11.1. Acquisition method:  donation

11.2. Date of acquisition: 2001

11.3. Previous owner: Diniacopoulos, Olga